HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
But what happens if we confront a divisive person’s behaviour a first and second time, and find that it still goes on? Paul tells us next . . . and we are to maintain the integrity of the church and continue to build character to move the church forward. Let us continue the instructions from Paul to Titus.
3. WHAT WE MUST DO IF HE PERSISTS.
Paul said, “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition . . .” This is hard to do—and I think it’s something that it should be hard to do. But however else we may feel, our love for the unity of the body of Christ must show itself to be greater than our love for the company of a divisive man or woman. Otherwise, we will forfeit the integrity of our witness for the gospel to the world.
To “reject” a divisive man or woman would have to include the idea of no longer keeping company with them as if they were a brother or sister. Such persistent divisiveness is a serious act of aggression against the body of Christ. In fact, it’s a sin that’s so serious that is placed in the same category as others that would keep someone out of heaven! In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul writes;
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
And elsewhere, Paul wrote, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:11).
Now; it’s painful to have to treat a divisive man so seriously—particularly when they’ve made a profession to be a brother or sister in Christ. It’s painful to say to him or her, “Look; you say that you are a brother or sister. You profess to be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. But twice now, I have come to you about this matter; and you will not turn from it. I’ve even brought others in on the matter, just as Jesus—the one whom you claim to be your Lord—has commanded His people to do; and you still refuse to turn from it. You’ve put me in the difficult position of having to choose between my fellowship with you and my fellowship with those who are united in the Lord Jesus. And I now choose to separate myself from you and adhere—in faithful unity—to the Lord Jesus and the people He loves. I pray you will confess this behaviour as a sin and repent of it so that my fellowship with you can be restored. But until you do, I will have no further fellowship with you.”
It’s hard to do that. But the fact is that an unrepentant divisive person, after refusing to hear a first and second admonition, is thus proving what he or she really is. A genuine brother or sister in Christ would not persist in binging division into the fellowship of others of their brothers and sisters in Christ; and this man or woman, through a spirit of unrepentant divisiveness after repeated admonitions, is giving clear evidence that he or she is really not a brother or sister. And so, this leads us to . . .